The Defenders Are In Business

The Defenders Are In Business

 

I’ve just spent the entire day, since 8 am this morning, watching the new Marvel Netflix show – Defenders.

And ohhhh boy, was it AMAZING!

The eight episodes chronicle previous Netflix series heroes – Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones), as they team up to finally put a stop to The Hand – an organisation both Iron Fist and Daredevil have faced before.

Without giving away spoilers, of which they are many, the TV show is an absolute thrill ride and brings Marvel’s Netflix world back on track.

Things, for me at least, fell apart a bit during Iron Fist’s first solo outing. The fight scenes did nothing for me, the story wasn’t all that interesting, and, quite frankly,Ā everyoneĀ around Iron Fist was more interesting than Iron Fist himself.

But, Defenders brings Netflix back on track. A brilliant story line, excellent fight scenes for everyone, lots of blood, guts and gore, there’s something for everyone.

Also, Marvel has clearly taken the time to improve the character behind the Iron First, Danny Rand. His choreography wasĀ farĀ better than before, and while naiveĀ (and, admittedly, still annoyingly head strong) Danny almost becameĀ likeable.Ā 

Don’t get me wrong, I finished the series still not liking him, but I hated himĀ lessĀ after this series. I still laughed at watching him get beaten up, but I wasn’t actively wanting him to get killed like I was in his solo series.

Personally, I think it was all down to how he was presented, and how he interacted with other characters.

His fellow Defenders really offset Danny’s annoying tendencies and stopped him rushing into danger a lot, as well as shut down his naiveĀ moments. He still had them, but at least his ideas weren’t followed through with for the most part, so I didn’t feel like tearing my hair out with frustration with him.

As for the other Defenders, they were all still on complete top form. They blended together perfectly in my opinion. They didn’t like each other all that much, and certainly didn’t get along for most of the show, but they still blended together well.

I had been worried that this series wouldn’t work, as the characters are too different in personality and too similar in powers. But it actually worked incredibly well.

Worked so well, in fact, I was near tears by the end. Honestly, I very nearlyĀ criedĀ at the end. At the very least, I was terrified that someone wasn’t going to come back.

From the cinematography to the plot, to the comic references, this show is truly bringing Marvel back on track.

If you’re someone who loves Marvel, violence, gore, or just Netflix TV shows, I would highly recommend Marvel’s The Defenders. It’s clever, funny in places, violent to the extreme at points, and restored my faith in Marvel’s Netflix universe.

The Defenders are officially in business, and I cannot wait to see what they do next, individually or together.

Whatever they do next, it will certainly be one hell of a ride.

The Murdstone Trilogy By Mal Peet – Review

murdstone

What does every writer want, more than anything? More than a book deal, along with a movie adaption deal?

Someone to write the book for them, that’s what. And don’t try to tell me you don’t, every writer has, at leastĀ onceĀ in their writing life, wished the book would either write itself, or for someone to do it for them.

That’s exactly what Philip Murdstone gets.

Murdstone starts this book as an established writer, but he hasn’t published anything in years, and his sales are going through the floor. He usually writes books for ‘sensitive boys,’ overcoming some sort of trial in their lives, and that kind of thing just isn’t selling anymore.

What is selling, though, isĀ fantasy.Ā Fantasy is selling by the bucket loads. Every literary agent, publishing house, and writer, is looking to create the next Harry Potter.

There’s one problem. MurdstoneĀ hatesĀ fantasy, abhors it, wants it banished from the world. He’d ratherĀ dieĀ than write a fantasy.

ā€œI hate Tolkien. I mean. Bloody pretentious escapist nonsense, isnā€™t it?ā€

His agent doesn’t like the genre very much either, but it sells, so who cares?

But when he is faced with no other choice, he gives in, and that’s where this story starts.

Murdstone ends up meeting Pocket, a swearing, uncouth, yet strangely likeable, Greme from another land, who agrees to tell him about Morl, a dark necromancer trying expand his Thule. The book becomes an instant classic, Murdstone soars to J.K Rowelling levels of fame.

It all comes at a price, though. And that price is Morl trying to use a sacred Amulet to get into this world, an Amulet that Murdstone possesses, and uses, to translate Pocket’s stories into our language.

Every writer’s dream, and worst nightmare, wrapped into one.

But, for a reader, it’s brilliant.

For a reader, who also happens to be a writer, or knowledgeable in the publishing industry, it isĀ dream,Ā to read.

Full of sass, snark, and just about every insult to Tolkien, Rowelling, and the fantasy genre as a whole, The Murdstone Trilogy is an unrelenting, yet hilarious, story, with twists and turns galore. Nothing is safe from Murdstone and his ire.

ā€œWriters no longer work in solitude, crafting meaningful and elegant prose. No. They have to spend most of their time selling themselves on the fucking internet. Blogging and tweeting and updating their bloody Facebook pages and their wretched narcissistic websites.ā€

In between the Hamlet-esque ‘is he mad, or is this actually happening,’ diatribes against just about everything, and the fear for Murdstone’s life, there are moments where the audience can really sympathise with Murdstone’s plight.

Every writer has thought that they couldn’t finish the book, or face huge deadlines that loom overhead, or have been so unbelievably stuck, they didn’t think they could ever get out of it.

Every writer has wished that they were as successful as J K Rowelling.

Every writer has definitely wished for someone to take the story away and magically complete it for them.

And that’s the magic of this book. It’s wacky, and insane, but it speaks to the authors, the publishers, the editors. It creates a story focused around the world of publishing, while keeping the most fantastical elements flowing.

I loved every second of this book. It was truly a wonderful read, that had me laughing throughout, and half wishing I could have my own Murdstone-style adventure.

Witty, uncompromising, definitely not for the faint of heart, but, an absolute must read for anyone who loves books.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is Out Of This World

 

Alright, I’ve had 4 hours sleep, which was interrupted thanks to a lovely pounding headache, but I have to write this now because I cannot stop thinking about Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, as I do with all the films Marvel releases, but the Guardians have had a special place in my heart for a while. The first film was a triumph, and made me fall in love with how different they are from other superheros in the franchise, how the humour is kicked up a notch, and just simply how lighthearted this rag-tag team of misfits are.

But Volume 2 hit me sideways. I was not expectingĀ the turns this film took, I was expecting a laugh out loud comedy action film, instead I got a funny, but poignant, film focusing entirely on one important thing: family.

When we left the Guardians Of The Galaxy had just learnt to work together as a group, and in this film, they still work together, but they’ve become a family. And by family, I mean a very dysfunctional one. Peter and Rocket argue constantly, Gamora is ignoring all of Peter’s advances, Drax doesn’t listen to a word anybody else says. Groot mostly stays out of it, because he’s just a tiny baby tree (and by just I mean the cutest thing Marvel have ever created), who is in essence a toddler who likes to cause trouble. The arguing is getting worse and worse, they all love each other in their own ways, but they haven’t learnt to live together, and they are getting close to tearing each other apart.

Meanwhile, Yondu’s crew have mutinied against him, The Sovereign are after the Guardian’s, and there’s a mysterious man hanging around with an alien claiming to be Peter’s dad. That’s right, Peter’sĀ dadĀ has found him, and we finally find out why Peter could hold an Infinity Stone without dying instantly.

I won’t say who he is for spoiler reasons, though if you’re on the internet as much as I am, you’ll know by now, as it was announced months ago. All I’ll say is that the man is full of mystery, and thanks to him, we find out so much more about each member of the team, things that we were desperate to know, some we really weren’t.

I’m making this sound like it’s really angsty all the way through, and it really isn’t. The essence of what makes Guardians Of The Galaxy is still there, the humour definitely more adult in places, but this is still as fun as the first one, if not more so. The plot is great, with some fantastic plot twists that hit me so hard in the chest I nearly wanted to cry. The stakes are higher, the bad guys are more powerful, and most importantly, the films heart got bigger. The Guardians have always been about family, and this time it shines brighter in the most beautiful way.

Volume 2 is like Volume 1, dialed up 100 notches, it’s brilliant, fantastic, just as mind-blowing as the first. I loved every second. I laughed, I nearly cried, IĀ freaked outĀ in places at references as to what is to come later in the MCU. Essentially, I loved it. Plain and simple.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 is an awesome mix of fun, love, and consequences. A film I feel that everyone should watch. Marvel have once again hit the nail on the head, and made one amazing film.

 

Enchanting Beauty And The Beast

I have a small confession to make, I have never watched the original animated version of Beauty And The Beast, and to be honest, I haven’t watched most of the classic Disney films. I was a kid who was more into watching The Matrix Trilogy than Disney films, but now that I’m older (and having gottenĀ heavilyĀ into Once Upon A Time) I’m giving Disney films a go, and seeing as this remake had just been released, I decided to give it a go.

Starring Dan Stevens, Emma Watson and an all star cast of wonderfully talented people, Beauty And The Beast tells the story of Belle, a bookish young woman who ends up trapped in a run down castle, owned by a prince, who has been turned into a monstrous beast, thanks to a curse. The Beast is a rude and terrible creature, and the only people who can stand him are his old servants, who have all been turned into sentient objects. Only a beautiful woman can break this curse and return everyone to their original human form, but she has to fall in love with the beast to break it.

It’s a tale as old as time, but it’s absolutely brilliant! I absolutelyĀ lovedĀ every moment of the film, from the incredible special effects (Dan Steven’s doesn’t just voice Beast, he actually motion captured his body and facial expressions throughout) to the wonderful songs, it all comes together so beautifully.

Of course, this is a Disney movie, so things do generally come together beautifully. But sometimes remakes can be awful, but this one wasn’t. It may be because I haven’t seen the original, and so can only compare it to the Once Upon A Time version of the characters, who are, in a lot of ways, wildly different. But to me, this films seems to be lovingly remade from the original animation, and done brilliantly.

Dan Steven’s Beast is so perfectly misunderstood at the beginning, and becomes a such a nice person, I couldn’t help but fall for him. I wasn’t expecting him to have such a nice singing voice either, or be such a wonderful dancer.

The same goes for Emma Watson, and she plays Belle brilliantly. Belle is an intelligent girl, one who can save herself, and she does so several times throughout.

And that is without mentioning Luke Evans, who plays Gaston. Somehow, he made the character likeable, yet easily hateable at the same time. I couldn’t take my eyes off him whenever he was on screen.

All in all, Beauty And The Beast is a wonderful remake, made by a talented cast and crew. I was easily swept up in the magic of it all, found the story enchanting, and everything to do with the film brilliant. I truly feel like I missed out as a child not watching the original, but I’m glad I saw this one first, at this age, so I could appreciate it as much as I did. The only thing I’d suggest as an improvement would be to see more the Beast as a human, or possibly more of a back story for him, so we as an audience got to see how Beast became to be so beastly a person. Other than that, this is a fantastic film, one I would highly recommend seeing.

Logan’s Swan Song

logans-swan-song

Seventeen years ago, the X-Men burst onto our screens, starting a whole near era in superhero film, one that admittedly has it’s problems thanks to timeline changes, but still a very enjoyable one. Two of the lead roles, were Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, and Professer Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, who have now become iconic in these roles. Logan says goodbye to both, paying tribute to them, as well as giving them one last adventure. An adventure that’s unlike any other X-Men film before it.

Usually, the X-Men films are reasonably funny and lighthearted. But Logan is anything but lighthearted. It would fit more with the Marvel Netflix series’ than the rest of the X-Men canon. The story is dark, and gritty, not holding back on the character’s hardships, or how badly life had hit them.

Professor X is deteriorating mentally, barely able to control his powers, Logan is looking after him, working as a chauffeur to raise enough money to look after them both. There is no-one else that can help, the X-Men are gone, the mansion left unmentioned, mutants are dying out. The world thinks the professor is dead, a terrible accident killing him a year ago. And, possibly most importantly, Logan is also dying. His healing powers are failing him, poisoned by the Adamantium wrapped around his bones. Logan’s body is littered in scars, his wounds don’t heal as fast, he’s drinking to cope.

To say the least, things are bleak. Things get only bleaker when a nurse calls for Logan’s help, to take her and her daughter to Eden, a safe haven for mutant kind. A company is after them, and want to kill the girl, named Laura. Logan and Xavier get dragged into the fray when they discover that Laura is not human – she’s a mutant, one with someĀ veryĀ familiar powers indeed.

What follows is still bleak, but brilliant. Despite this being a superhero film, it does not follow the usual tropes. This is more a story about a man learning how to care again, facing the worst adversity he has ever faced, despite the costs to himself. The audience is swept up completely in Logan’s struggle, routing for him more than ever before.

Logan is, in essence, one of the best X-Men films ever made. It’s beautifully shot, beautifully written, and beautifully acted. A bittersweet experience, as you never want this to end, but knowing it has to. Not only will the film end, but these characters are going to be gone forever at the end too.

Yes there were things left unexplained, and there were no appearances from any other famous X-Men, they weren’t even mentioned by name. But if things had been fully explained, if others were mentioned, it would have detracted from what this film is – Logan’s swan song.

While I did not want to see Logan ever go, the same with Professor X, it would do a disservice to this film to demand they bring these character’s back, through a timeline change, or by any other means. This was the perfect ending for the character, the last five minutes nearly bringing me to tears. By far, this was Logan’s best solo film. His ultimate goodbye.

I used to say that David Tennant’s regeneration was the day my childhood ended, but now that has been surpassed. I have spent most of my life watching and loving the X-Men, despite it’s faults and mistakes. Logan though may just now be my favourite, we saw Logan in his true form, in all of his glory. I loved every second.

Thank you, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, you and your characters will be dearly missed, and never, ever replaced.